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dc.contributor.authorSayigh, Laela
dc.contributor.authorWells, Randall
dc.contributor.authorJanik, Vincent M.
dc.identifier.citationSayigh , L , Wells , R & Janik , V M 2017 , ' What's in a voice? Dolphins do not use voice cues for individual recognition ' , Animal Cognition , vol. 20 , no. 6 , pp. 1067-1079 .
dc.identifier.otherPURE: 249406856
dc.identifier.otherPURE UUID: a19de2ef-66af-4e75-aea1-4ade0db8cc29
dc.identifier.otherScopus: 85027022528
dc.identifier.otherORCID: /0000-0001-7894-0121/work/60427846
dc.identifier.otherWOS: 000412948000006
dc.descriptionFieldwork for this study was funded by Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution, Grossman Family Foundation, Dolphin Quest, Inc., NOAA Fisheries, Disney, the Office of Naval Research, Morris Animal Foundations Betty White Wildlife Rapid Response Fund, the Batchelor Foundation, and the Joint Industry Program.en
dc.description.abstractMost mammals can accomplish acoustic recognition of other individuals by means of “voice cues,” whereby characteristics of the vocal tract render vocalizations of an individual uniquely identifiable. However, sound production in dolphins takes place in gas-filled nasal sacs that are affected by pressure changes, potentially resulting in a lack of reliable voice cues. It is well known that bottlenose dolphins learn to produce individually distinctive signature whistles for individual recognition, but it is not known whether they may also use voice cues. To investigate this question, we played back non-signature whistles to wild dolphins during brief capture-release events in Sarasota Bay, Florida. We hypothesized that non-signature whistles, which have varied contours that can be shared among individuals, would be recognizable to dolphins only if they contained voice cues. Following established methodology used in two previous sets of playback experiments, we found that dolphins did not respond differentially to non-signature whistles of close relatives versus known unrelated individuals. In contrast, our previous studies showed that in an identical context, dolphins reacted strongly to hearing the signature whistle or even a synthetic version of the signature whistle of a close relative. Thus, we conclude that dolphins likely do not use voice cues to identify individuals. The low reliability of voice cues and the need for individual recognition were likely strong selective forces in the evolution of vocal learning in dolphins.
dc.relation.ispartofAnimal Cognitionen
dc.rights© The Author(s) 2017. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.en
dc.subjectPlayback experimenten
dc.subjectNon-signature whistleen
dc.subjectVoice cuesen
dc.subjectIndividual recognitionen
dc.subjectQH301 Biologyen
dc.subjectQP Physiologyen
dc.titleWhat's in a voice? Dolphins do not use voice cues for individual recognitionen
dc.typeJournal articleen
dc.description.versionPublisher PDFen
dc.contributor.institutionUniversity of St Andrews.School of Biologyen
dc.contributor.institutionUniversity of St Andrews.Sea Mammal Research Uniten
dc.contributor.institutionUniversity of St Andrews.Marine Alliance for Science & Technology Scotlanden
dc.contributor.institutionUniversity of St Andrews.Scottish Oceans Instituteen
dc.contributor.institutionUniversity of St Andrews.Institute of Behavioural and Neural Sciencesen
dc.contributor.institutionUniversity of St Andrews.Centre for Social Learning & Cognitive Evolutionen
dc.contributor.institutionUniversity of St Andrews.Bioacoustics groupen
dc.description.statusPeer revieweden

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